World Cup 2014: Mertesacker defends Germany win over Algeria

Per Mertesacker has defended Germany's performance against Algeria, after the three-time champions laboured to an extra-time win in the last 16 tie.

Germany were given a real scare by the African side before progressing to a quarter-final against France.

"Would you rather we played beautiful football but got knocked out?" said Arsenal centre-half Mertesacker.

Andre Schurrle scores cheeky extra-time goal

"Do you think just Mickey Mouse teams are in the last 16? All that matters is we're in the quarter-finals."

Goals from Chelsea's Andre Schurrle and Mesut Ozil saw Germany through as their opponents began to tire following a goalless 90 minutes.

And Schurrle praised the performance of Algeria, who frequently had their more fancied opponents rattled, and scored a late consolation through Abdelmoumene Djabou.

"Algeria did a really good job," said Schurrle.

Match facts

Andre Schurrle has scored five goals in his last five competitive matches for Germany.

Germany's total of 28 shots is a record for this edition of the tournament.

There have now been a record 27 goals scored by substitutes at this World Cup.

Algeria (7) have scored more goals in this tournament than in their previous three World Cup finals combined (6).

"There was a bit of luck involved in my goal and now we've got to play better than this against France."

Germany coach Joachim Low criticised his side's ball retention but praised their character in holding off the challenge of Algeria.

"We lost too many balls," he said. "We made lots of passing mistakes and that invited them to hit us on the counter-attack.

"We were susceptible on long balls and it was good that Manuel [Neuer, the goalkeeper] kept coming off his line.

Analysis

"Germany played such a high line with little pace in defence, and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is incredible to sweep up after them. They flirt with danger and he gets them out of trouble.

"Has there ever been a better sweeper keeper? He reads things wonderfully well."

"But this was a victory of our will and strength of character. I just need to take a deep breath now."

Low added that right-back Shkodran Mustafi is set to miss the rest of the tournament after suffering a hamstring injury against Algeria, although midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger should be fit to face France despite limping off in extra-time.

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff echoed Low's sentiments and admitted his country's side had not been at their best,

"There is a saying in the United States for coaching called 'survive and advance' and today we survived," Bierhoff told BBC Sport.

"We didn't play well in the first half. In the second half we missed some great chances, and I think overall if you look at the game it was a hard but deserved victory."

Bierhoff also rejected suggestions his side had taken their opponents lightly.

"We weren't surprised by Algeria," he said. "They played the tactics we expected but we didn't play well. All the other [last-16] games have been difficult - just look at France and the Netherlands."

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